An Ideal Customer Profile is Key for Start-up Sales

One of the keys to success for B2B start-up sales is having the right ideal customer profile. I often hear from start-ups that they sell to everyone or they don’t want to limit it as they don’t want to miss-out on deals.  The reality is that by not being focused or targeting niche segments you are limiting your sales. This blog will focus more on the outbound sales efforts than inbound marketing. Here are a few tips on setting an ideal customer profile.

How to pick your ideal customer profile

When considering your ideal customer profile the key is to think about the best customer fit for both you and your prospect. This means balancing who can benefit the most from your solution, can they pay/afford your solution, and how you can service them.  You can also pick a few ideal customer profiles to start, but don’t stretch yourself too thin. Here are a few of the factors to consider:

  • Industry: Picking an industry/vertical where they are having a problem your solution support is key. Industries have the same terminology, people move between companies, they often  have similar software/processes, and they will recognize the names of companies in the industry once you start to close them.
  • Geography: Can you service the geography?  This could include if you need to be on-site for installations, support hours, and language capabilities. The language capabilities could include how they use your solution, as an example is your software in spanish and also the language you support them.  There could also be legal, risk, and tax implications with certain geographies.
  • Size of Company: You may want to target very large companies as they are having significant problems and might have large budgets.  Then again you may see the best fit with a medium sized solution as they can’t afford the enterprise solutions.
  • End user or Partner: You may also choose to have partners support you versus going to end users directly. Again many of the other factors when selecting an ideal customer profile survive. Partners may help reach a new geography, distributed customers, and they are often trusted advisors.
  • Technology Adoption: Targets organizations technology adoption may have players that are early adopters and others that are lagarts.  It is often faster to sell to companies that embrace technology. There are ways to determine where a target could fit by looking at other software they are using or even how modern their website looks.
  • Something Special: Is there something special that could help define a good prospect. As an example, a new law that companies need to be compliant with. It could also be a company that has been fined for an infraction by a government or association body. Often these fines/punishments are reported on and public access.

The more you sell and work with your ideal customer profile the more you will know.  There could be certain problems they face that are unique, the terminology could be specialized, and when you start to close clients others in the industry will recognize those names.

You can move on to adjacent ideal custom profiles once you start to saturate the one you are in. There may also be  inbound leads or partner referrals from outside your targets.  This is a good way to determine what may be next. Don’t change your total outbound focus based on one inbound lead, but use it as a data point.

If you would like some help on defining your ideal customer profile and creating a sales plan please connect with me.

An Ideal Customer Profile is Key for Start-up Sales